Luton railway station

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Luton National Rail
Luton railway station MMB 13.jpg
Facing South from platform 2 (Southbound) at Luton
Local authorityBorough of Luton
Grid referenceTL092216
Station codeLUT
Managed byThameslink
Number of platforms5
DfT categoryB
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2014/15Increase 3.548 million
2015/16Increase 3.626 million
2016/17Increase 3.683 million
2017/18Increase 3.696 million
– Interchange Increase 0.137 million
2018/19Increase 3.802 million
– Interchange Decrease 0.100 million
Key datesOpened 1868 (1868)
National RailUK railway stations
  • Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Luton from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Railways around Luton
Luton Bute Street
Luton Airport Parkway
Luton Airport
(under construction)
Luton Hoo
Chiltern Green

Luton railway station is a railway station located in the town centre of Luton, Bedfordshire, England. The station is about three minutes' walk from The Mall Shopping Centre. It is situated on the Midland Main Line and is operated by Thameslink.


It was built by the Midland Railway in 1868 on its extension to St. Pancras. For some years it was known as Luton Midland Road to distinguish it from the earlier Luton Bute Street, built in 1858 on the GNR line from Hertford North to Leighton Buzzard.

To build the line a public area known as the "Great Moor" had to be built through. The remainder of the land was bought for development by John Crawley, who provided a replacement in what is known as the "People's Park." This proved a worthwhile investment because, as the town's staple trade in straw hats diminished as they went out of fashion, it was replaced by engineering works. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the population had nearly trebled and the station had become an important stop for main line expresses.

London, Midland and Scottish Railway[edit]

The station, consisting of only 3 platforms was rebuilt in 1939 to the designs of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway company architect William Henry Hamlyn.[1]

British Rail era[edit]

In 1960 a fourth platform was added. During electrification in the early 1980s a fifth platform was added for the suburban services to and from St. Pancras.[2]


Upon the opening of Eurostar at St. Pancras International, through-fares to continental Europe were made available from Luton and 67 other UK towns and cities to Paris, Brussels and other destinations in France and Belgium.[3]

The station is set for significant investment from both Network Rail and First Group to improve facilities for customers as well as creating longer platforms as part of the Thameslink Programme. In 2009 the station was identified as one of the ten worst category B interchange stations for mystery shopper assessment of fabric and environment, and is set to receive a share of £50 million funding for improvements.[4] During 2010 and 2011 a number of improvements took place at the station, these included extensions to all five platforms (including removing the barrow crossing) and a new footbridge.[5][6] The platform extensions form part of the Thameslink Programme and allow 12 car operation at the station. During these works two new rail overbridges were installed over Old Bedford Road allowing the track to be slewed for the extended platforms.[7]


Luton station is served by Thameslink and East Midlands Railway trains. From Luton, trains go north to Bedford, Kettering, Corby, Melton Mowbray, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield. Southbound trains go to London, Gatwick Airport, Brighton, Greenwich, Dartford, Gillingham, Wimbledon and Sutton.

The typical off peak service from this station as of May 2020 is as follows:

Thameslink trains serve several stations in Central London, including London St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars and London Bridge.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
East Midlands Railway
Luton - Rainham
Bedford - Gatwick Airport/Brighton

Bus interchange[edit]

Luton Station Interchange in front of the station building provides interchange with local and regional bus services.

There was previously a shuttle bus service from the station to nearby London Luton Airport. However, the dedicated shuttle ceased following the construction of Luton Airport Parkway station. There are still regular buses via the Busway to Luton Airport via Arriva's A bus, and the Stagecoach hourly 99 bus service also runs directly to the Airport terminal.


Luton station has the following facilities:

  • 2 waiting rooms
  • Newsagent
  • Cafe
  • Telephones
  • ATM
  • Ticket barriers
  • FastTicket machine
  • Toilets
  • Car Park with 669 spaces
  • The station participates in the Plusbus scheme where train and bus tickets can be bought together for a cheaper price. It is in the same area as Luton Parkway and Leagrave stations.

1955 accident[edit]

Luton rail crash
Date22 December 1955
LocationLuton railway station
LineMidland Main Line
CauseSignal passed at danger
List of UK rail accidents by year

On 22 December 1955, two passenger trains collided at Luton station. One passenger was killed, and 23 injured. The first train, a local service from St Pancras to Leicester, had been given the "right away" from Luton and started to leave the station, but came to a halt when some late passengers attempted to board. As the train was clear of the Home signal, the signalman accepted the second train, an express from St Pancras to Derby. The signals were left at "Danger", so the Derby train should have stopped at the Home signal until the Leicester train had left the station. However, the driver of the Derby train failed to observe the Distant signal, and only made an emergency brake application when he saw the Home signal at danger, from a distance of approximately 400 yards (370 m). He was unable to stop the train in time, and it collided with the stationary Leicester train. The rear two coaches of the Leicester train telescoped into each other, causing the majority of casualties. The official enquiry held the driver of the Derby train responsible for the collision, but also noted that the lights from the nearby Vauxhall factory obscured the view of the Distant signal. The lighting was reorganised following the accident.[11]

1976 accident[edit]

Luton rail crash
Date25 June 1976
LocationLuton railway station
LineMidland Main Line
CauseSignal passed at danger
List of UK rail accidents by year

A passenger train being operated by a diesel multiple unit overran signals and collided with another diesel multiple unit at Luton South Signal Box. An express passenger train then collided with the wreckage, striking it with a glancing blow.[12]

7 July 2005 London bombings[edit]

On the day of the bombings, the four suicide bombers were seen on CCTV entering the station.


  1. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1968). The Buildings of England. Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Peterborough. Yale University Press. p. 117. ISBN 9780300095814.
  2. ^ Radford, B., (1983) Midland Line Memories: a Pictorial History of the Midland Railway Main Line Between London (St Pancras) & Derby London: Bloomsbury Books
  3. ^ "Through-fares from 68 UK towns and cities to continental Europe now available on". Archived from the original on 30 December 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2007.
  4. ^ "£50m revamp for 'worst stations'". BBC News. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  5. ^ "Platform Extensions". BCM Construction. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Network Change Notice – Luton Station" (PDF). Network Rail. 20 January 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  7. ^ "Gently does it! Bridge moved in over Easter". First Capital Connect. 24 March 2011. Archived from the original on 22 August 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  8. ^ "Luton and Dunstable guided busway 'good for economy'". BBC. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  9. ^ "Access for all as Virgin Trains and Stagecoach upgrades Milton Keynes-Luton Airport coaches". Virgin Trains. 18 November 2006. Archived from the original on 22 April 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  10. ^ "VT99 Timetable" (PDF). Virgin Trains / Stagecoach. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 December 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  11. ^ Ministry of Transport; Brig C A Langley (11 May 1956). Report on the Collision at Luton Station. HMSO. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  12. ^ Hoole, Ken (1983). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 4. Truro: Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-906899-07-9.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°52′56″N 0°24′52″W / 51.88227°N 0.41432°W / 51.88227; -0.41432